Journal of Biosciences

, Volume 36, Issue 5, pp 963–981

Plant functional traits with particular reference to tropical deciduous forests: A review

Authors

    • Ecosystems Analysis Laboratory, Department of BotanyBanaras Hindu University
  • A S Raghubanshi
    • Institute of Environment and Sustainable DevelopmentBanaras Hindu University
  • J S Singh
    • Ecosystems Analysis Laboratory, Department of BotanyBanaras Hindu University
Review

DOI: 10.1007/s12038-011-9159-1

Cite this article as:
Chaturvedi, R.K., Raghubanshi, A.S. & Singh, J.S. J Biosci (2011) 36: 963. doi:10.1007/s12038-011-9159-1

Abstract

Functional traits (FTs) integrate the ecological and evolutionary history of a species, and can potentially be used to predict its response as well as its influence on ecosystem functioning. Study of inter-specific variation in the FTs of plants aids in classifying species into plant functional types (PFTs) and provides insights into fundamental patterns and trade-offs in plant form and functioning and the effect of changing species composition on ecosystem functions. Specifically, this paper focuses on those FTs that make a species successful in the dry tropical environment. Following a brief overview, we discuss plant FTs that may be particularly relevant to tropical deciduous forests (TDFs). We consider the traits under the following categories: leaf traits, stem and root traits, reproductive traits, and traits particularly relevant to water availability. We compile quantitative information on functional traits of dry tropical forest species. We also discuss trait-based grouping of plants into PFTs. We recognize that there is incomplete knowledge about many FTs and their effects on TDFs and point out the need for further research on PFTs of TDF species, which can enable prediction of the dynamics of these forests in the face of disturbance and global climate change. Correlations between structural and ecophysiological traits and ecosystem functioning should also be established which could make it possible to generate predictions of changes in ecosystem services from changes in functional composition.

Keywords

Ecosystem functioning environmental change functional traits leaf traits moisture stress tropical deciduous forest

Abbreviations

Aarea

area-based leaf maximum photosynthetic rate

Amass

mass-based leaf maximum photosynthetic rate

ANPP

above ground net primary production

ATP

adenosine triphosphate

Camass

mass-based calcium concentration

CC

leaf construction cost

Chl

chlorophyll concentration

Cmass

mass-based carbon concentration

DBH

diameter at breast height

E

leaf transpiration rate

FT

functional trait

gc

leaf stomatal conductance, Kmass, mass-based potassium concentration

LA

leaf area

LAI

leaf area index

LDMC

leaf dry matter content

LL

leaf life-span

LMA

leaf mass per area

LNC

leaf nitrogen concentration

LPC

leaf phosphorus concentration

LSCmax

maximum leaf specific hydraulic conductivity

LWC

leaf water content

Namass

mass-based sodium concentration

Nmass

mass-based nitrogen concentration

PFT

plant functional type

Pmass

mass-based phosphorus concentration

Rdarea

area-based dark respiration rate

Rdmass

mass-based dark respiration rate

Rdmax

maximum rate of dark respiration

SLA

specific leaf area

SSD

specific stem density

TDF

tropical deciduous forest

TDMC

twig dry matter content

WUEi

intrinsic water use efficiency

Copyright information

© Indian Academy of Sciences 2011